Ranking the leading 10 coaches in college football for 2024

When we asked our college football reporters to rank the sport’s leading 10 coaches, we figured there wouldn’t be much debate about who is No. 1– and there wasn’t. Georgia’s Kirby Smart, whose Bulldogs are 42-2 over the previous three seasons, was the consentaneous choice among our 10 voters.But after that, there was extremely little consensus.The only other coach to appear on all 10 tallies was new Alabama head man Kalen DeBoer, but his rankings varied from 2nd to 10th. Two coaches appeared on 9 ballots: Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, whose rankings varied from 3 second-place votes to two ninth places, and Florida State’s Mike Norvell, whose votes included 2 2nd locations and 2 10ths. Then there’s Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, who got four second-place votes and was

left off 4 ballots altogether.With points appointed based upon our reporters’votes (10 points for top place, nine for second location and

down to one point for 10th place ), here are the total rankings.Also see: Surprises and snubs– top 10 coaches reaction Other leading 10s: Receivers|RBs|QBs|Pass-rushers|DBs 1. Kirby Smart, Georgia 2023 record: 13-1(.929)Career record: 94-16(.855)Points: 100(all 10 first-place votes)With Nick Saban retired, Smart is absolutely the preeminent coach in college football. He took his alma mater, Georgia, to back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022 and played for a third nationwide title in 2017. The Bulldogs won an SEC-record 29 straight games before losing to Alabama last season in the SEC national championship. In 8 seasons at Georgia, Smart has built a juggernaut in regards to examining, recruiting and developing fantastic players. He has actually produced 55 NFL draft choices, consisting of 15 first-rounders, and could have as lots of as 10 more players selected in the upcoming draft.Smart is unbeaten against all active coaches over the past five seasons– his only losses because period are to Saban(3), Dan Mullen at Florida, Ed Orgeron at LSU and Will Muschamp at South Carolina. His consistency sets him apart. The Bulldogs completed 8-5 in his first season (2016), however since then, Georgia is the only team in the nation to complete in the top 7 in the last AP survey every year. Smart’s Bulldogs have actually bet and/or won an SEC title or nationwide title in six of those seven seasons.– Chris Low 2. Kalen DeBoer, Alabama 2023 record: 14-1(.933) Profession record: 37-9(.804 )Points: 62 Editor’s Picks 2 Related After starting his profession as an assistant at tiny Sioux Falls, his alma mater, DeBoer assisted the NAIA Cougars to a 67-3 record with 3 nationwide titles over a five-year stretch. From there, DeBoer started a climb the assistant-coaching ranks, throughout which each school he reached

experienced near-unprecedented success, before being called the head coach at Fresno State. His modest two-year run there(12-6)

caused the gig at Washington, where he changed a team that won 4 games in 2021 to one that went 25-3 over the next 2 seasons, making an appearance in the nationwide title game this past season.All DeBoer does is win. And now he takes over for the famous Nick Saban, who set an impractical bar for what can be accomplished.– Kyle Bonagura 3. Kyle Whittingham, Utah 2023 record: 8-5 (.615 )Profession record: 162-79(.672 )Points: 56 Utah is the only home Whittingham has actually understood given that arriving at the school as the protective line coach in 1994. He was elevated to defensive planner the next year and to head coach upon the departure of Urban Meyer just before the end of the 2004 season.Since then, Whittingham

has been a hallmark of consistency, ending up with just two losing seasons in 19 years (right after Utah made the dive from the Mountain West to the Pac-12). He guided the Utes to an undefeated season in 2008, 2 Pac-12 titles and eight top-25 finishes in the AP poll, consisting of 6 in the previous 10 years. All at a school without the resources of the other coaches’

programs on this list.– Bonagura 4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson 2023 record: 9-4 (.692)Profession record: 170-43(.798) Points: 50 Swinney brought long time underachiever Clemson back to the nationwide phase and ended up being the first coach who truly challenged Nick Saban’s stranglehold on the sport. He assisted Clemson to nationwide titles in 2016 and 2018– the program’s first

given that 1981– while beating

Saban’s Alabama team both times. His groups made four CFP national championship game appearances in five seasons. Clemson won the ACC every year from 2015 to 2020 and never ever ended up lower than No. 3 in the last AP poll.A little-known pass receivers coach who became Clemson’s interim head coach midway through the 2008 season, Swinney is 170-43 as the Tigers’head coach with 8 league titles and 10 division titles. He won the Bryant Award as nationwide coach of the year in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Under Swinney, Clemson has had stretches when it was the nation’s premier program at positions such as wide receiver,

protective line and quarterback. Although the transfer portal/NIL era has brought more difficulties, Swinney has actually won 9 or more games in all but one full season as Clemson’s coach.– Adam Rittenberg

2023 record: 13-1 (.929)Profession record: 69-33(.676 )Points: 49 How best to measure Norvell’s achievement as a coach? Possibly it’s his use of the transfer website. While so many other coaches around the nation have groaned and complained about the portal recently, Norvell has actually found the ideal formula for using it, landing standouts such as Trey Benson,

Jermaine Johnson, Keon Coleman and Jared Verse, among a host of others. Or maybe it’s

the method he motivates his players, constructing a strong internal culture in spite of the extensive use of the portal.But if you require one number to really appreciate Norvell’s impact, here it is: 23. Twenty-three wins in the past two years at Florida State, a program that had won simply 26 games total in the previous 5 seasons. The turnaround– in terms of wins, talent and culture– is genuinely exceptional.– David Hale

6. Dan Lanning, Oregon AP Photo/Rick Bowmer 2023 record: 12-2 (.857 )Career record: 22-5(.815) Points: 37 While only two seasons of work might make Lanning’s lofty ranking seem a bit early, it’s difficult to argue with what he has performed in his first two seasons as a head coach. After helping Smart win a national championship in 2021 as Georgia’s defensive planner, Lanning has directed the Ducks to a 22-5 record.Like Ryan Day at Ohio State, Lanning couldn’t get past what proved to be an insurmountable obstruction in the Pac-12: the Washington Huskies. Each of Oregon’s 3 losses to Washington
the past 2 seasons were by three points, and the last one, a 34-31 defeat in the last Pac-12 national championship, was the most agonizing since it might have kept the Ducks out of the CFP.Lanning has actually shown to be a terrific recruiter, helping Oregon land the No. 4 class in the FBS in 2024. The Ducks landed the leading class in the Pac-12 in 2023.

Lanning and his personnel have actually also been adept at working the transfer website, adding previous Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, the starter the past two seasons, then Oklahoma passer Dillon Gabriel this year. There have been some doubtful in-game choices from Lanning, however one would anticipate he’ll get better with experience. Time will tell if Lanning follows in Smart’s footsteps as a former defensive organizer

who turned into one of the sport’s leading head coaches, but he’s well on his way to doing it.– Schlabach 7. Steve Sarkisian, Texas 2023 record: 12-2 (.857)Profession record: 71-49(.592) Points: 35 It was just a matter of time till Sarkisian put all the pieces together. After all, the guy has actually studied under three of the greatest coaches in modern college football history in LaVell Edwards, Pete Carroll and Nick Saban. Be it tossing for almost 7,500 backyards in 2 seasons with Edwards at BYU, functioning as quarterbacks coach for Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez under Carroll at USC, turning Jake Locker into a first-round choice(and then coaxing a set of brilliant seasons out of Keith Rate)while flipping Washington from 0-12

to 9-4, or averaging 47.2 and 48.5 points per game, respectively, in two seasons of calling
plays for Saban at Alabama, Sarkisian has actually been greatly prominent in offensive sparkle for most of the past 30 years.His development as a head coach came in 2023. After going simply 13-12 in his very first two years leading a perpetually underachieving Texas program, Sark’s Longhorns won 12 games, took their very first Big 12 title in 14 seasons and made their very first College Football Playoff look. Now they head to the SEC with genuine top-5 bona fides and a coach efficient in not just leading them back amongst the nation’s elite but keeping them there.– Costs Connelly 2023 record: 11-2(.846)Profession record: 96-49(.662) Points: 29 At 48, Kiffin is currently in his 5th head-coaching stop. He was hired as the Oakland Raiders’coach in 2007, when he was only 31, and although there were some growing pains along the way, he has developed into one of the more innovative and fascinating coaches in college football. Entering his 5th season at Ole Miss, Kiffin has actually accomplished things in Oxford that hadn’t been done before. The Rebels have won 10 regular-season games in 2 of the past three seasons; prior to Kiffin’s arrival, they had actually never won 10 regular-season games. Kiffin is renowned as one of the leading offensive minds in the game, and

his offenses are both well balanced and unforeseeable. Ole Miss and Alabama are the

only two teams in the SEC to average 33 or more points each of the previous 4 seasons.Kiffin is quick to troll any person and everyone on social networks and is polarizing amongst competing fan bases. He’s still a bit of a lightning arrester, but stated his time working under Saban assisted him become a more efficient supervisor of an entire program. Kiffin has likewise worked the developing nature of college football to his advantage and scored huge in the transfer portal.– Low 9. Lance Leipold, Kansas 2023 record: 9-4(.692)Profession record: 54-54(.500)Points: 28 In the 6 seasons before Lance Leipold arrived at Kansas, the Jayhawks went 9-60. In 2023, they went 9-4. You can nearly rest your case right there. Employed after spring practice had currently concluded in 2021, Leipold inherited a group that had actually gone 0-9 in 2020 and won two, then six, then nine games. While it’s unjust to compare anybody to Costs Snyder, he has done one hell of a Snyder impression over his first three seasons in Lawrence, and with his performance history, there’s reason to believe he might keep it up.This is, after all, a guy with 6 national titles on his résumé. As Soon As a Department III dynasty builder at Wisconsin-Whitewater,

Leipold has considering that

taken his masterful culture
building to Buffalo and KU, and damned if it’s not working anywhere he goes. He’ll face a new obstacle in 2024, coaching without ace offending coordinator and right-hand man Andy Kotelnicki for the first time considering that 2012.( Kotelnicki proceeded to the Penn State OC job.) But if anyone in college football gets the benefit of the doubt, it’s Leipold.Kansas won 9 games last year! Kansas! It knocks one’s socks off.– Connelly 2023 record: 11-2(.846)Profession record: 56-8(.875) Points: 27 Day’s

groups are 39-3 in Big 10 play the previous five-plus seasons, 56-8 total and played in a New Year’s Six bowl game or the CFP in each of his full seasons. The Buckeyes won back-to-back Big 10 titles in his first 2 seasons(2019 and 2020) and are 18-8 against AP top-25 opponents under Day.Unfortunately, those Big 10 losses came against that “Collaborate North,”Michigan, in each of the previous 3 seasons, leaving some Ohio State fans to wonder if Day needs to be on the hot seat. Whether he can reverse the Buckeyes’losing streak to the Wolverines, especially now that previous Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is in the NFL, will go a long way in determining his future.Day’s offenses have been ranked in the leading three in the FBS in scoring 3 times and in overall offense 4 times. Yet the Buckeyes are only 2-4 in championship game and have not won a Big Ten title since 2020. Turning over the offending playcalling to previous UCLA head coach Chip Kelly might be the recipe to getting OSU back on top in the expanded Big Ten.– Schlabach Also getting votes: Brian Kelly, LSU(23 ); Lincoln Riley, USC(20 ); Kirk Ferentz, Iowa(7); Luke Fickell, Wisconsin (7); Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri (6); Mack Brown, North Carolina

(3); Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State (3); Jonathan Smith, Michigan State (3 ); Deion Sanders, Colorado (2 ); Curt Cignetti, Indiana (1); Chris Klieman, Kansas State( 1); Jon Sumrall, Tulane(1 )

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